Written by Amber Moeller
From birth, Christian parents teach and discipline us according to the Word of God. When we are only a few years old, they teach us how to do some very basic things around the house. It may be as simple as learning to make our own beds and dressing ourselves without help. From there it progresses to learning how to clean the house, doing the dishes, learning about Christ and starting our academic studies.
What does all this tell us? That from birth, our parents are teaching us to be teachable, responsible, respectful to those in authority over us, and to grow in maturity. All are valuable things to be learned.
What does it mean to grow in maturity?
The 1828 Noah Webster dictionary defines being mature as:
1. ripe; perfect by time or natural growth; as a man of mature age. We apply it to a young man who has arrived to the age when he is supposed to be competent to manage his own concerns; to a young woman who is fit to be married.
2. complete; prepared; ready.
The Proverbs are just full of lessons encouraging Christians to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding; which in turn, when applied, encourage a person to be mature.
It has often puzzled me why young people are maturing at a much later age (mid to late twenties) than in past history (early teens — or rather, I like to say young adulthood). What changed between now and then? Peopleâ€™s expectations of the responsibilities required of young adults have changed. If adults encourage them to not mature until their late twenties, many wonâ€™t.
At what time should a person begin their path to wisdom and maturity?
From a very early age, we should encourage our siblings, as well as young friends, to grow in maturity (in actions, words, and deeds), to grow in wisdom (in the Word of God, in what it takes to run a home, to be domestically inclined, and how to be a submissive, cheerful helpmeet to our future husbands), and to grow in understanding (of what is expected of them as they grow older and take on more responsibilities).
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was about ten years old, I remember weaning myself away from playing with dolls. I wanted to be more grown up. At that time I saw playing with dolls as not a grown-up thing to be doing. I wanted to play with babies instead of dolls, and I wanted to be just like my big sister–more mature.
This desire to be older is a very common thing in the nature of children. From the time that they are 3 or 4, they want to start doing things that the “big kids” are doing. Why does that desire, often times, leave them around the time that they are teens?
Unfortunately, many kids of that age are no longer encouraged to grow in maturity. In our modern society, too often, teens only think about having fun, and that “fun ride” lasts through the college years and sometimes beyond. They donâ€™t wish to take on any personal responsibility. I believe this may be why we see the majority of modern young people maturing in their mid to late twenties.
If children are raised to be responsible when they are little, why does society expect less when they reach their teens? That is the most crucial time in their lives for completing their maturity. It seems that our world expects teenagers to be irresponsible and self-centered, and accepts it.
As a young woman approaching twenty, I am grateful to have parents who are training me to be mature and responsible. They have taught me the benefits and blessings of learning from the older men and women around me. Two of my dearest friends are in their seventies.
The older people around us can offer us a wealth of wisdom and understanding from their years of experience. I love to sit on the floor (it makes their wisdom seem all the greater when I look up to them) and listen to the stories of their lives.
It is important in life to continue to grow in knowledge, wisdom, maturity, and life preparation. It is beneficial to continue to grow in our knowledge of history (even after our formal academics are completed, it is still important to read how the Christians had a positive influence on things in this world in history as well as the present day); to continue to read books on “life-skills” (such as homemaking, being a wife, and mother); read good books that deepen our knowledge of what we believe and why; and most importantly, setting aside time to have daily quiet time in the Word.
In closing, as parents and future parents may we commit to training and encouraging our children to love the Lord, to be responsible, to be respectful of authority over them, to be mature and not immature, to have good judgment, to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding, that when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
We are promised a bountiful blessing as they grow older. The Word says that our children will rise up and call us blessed.